Ladies For Locke And TV Campaign ADs
October 1, 2009

The political world is buzzing this morning with news that Houston Mayoral candidate Gene Locke is about to launch  his campaign’s  first  TV political ads on Monday, October 5.  Locke who attended a Ladies For Locke fundraiser at the home of  Elyse and former Mayor Bob Lanier Wednesday night did not confirm his plans, but several other sources have confirmed the news to 2 on the Beat.

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That date is exactly  two weeks before the start of early voting on October 19,  but weeks after his opponents Council member Peter Brown and Controller Annise Parker went up on the airwaves with their paid political messages. 

In the TV ad, Locke, who has never been a candidate for office, will introduce himself to voters and talk about his vision for the city of Houston.

Did Locke and his top campaign team make a risky decision to wait until Monday?

Remember that back in 2002 when Bill White was running for mayor, he started his TV strategy almost EIGHT months before the election. Like Locke, White was not a household name, although White had been active in the statewide Democratic party leadership.

However, former Mayor Bob Lanier waited until a few weeks before election day to launch his campaign’s first TV ads.

 

The difference between Locke and Mayors White and Lanier is that both men had a substantial amount of personal wealth they could invest in their campaigns. 

The  econonomic climate in Houston is different now, and all of the candidates currently running for mayor are  facing difficult fundraising challenges .

Locke is not a household name, but he’s been a behind the scenes figure working to create much of  Houston’s current infrastructure: light rail, sports stadiums and economic development.

 Locke’s campaign manager Christian Archer, who would not confirm the TV ad, told 2 on The Beat that waiting wasn’t a risky decision, but rather part of a disciplined strategy.

Once Locke begins his TV political ads,  his campaign expects to maintain a presence through election day, a time when voters are paying the most attention.

While Locke wants to win outright on election day, in reality he only needs to finish in  first or  second place.

There will be a runoff election to decide who is going to be Houston’s next mayor.

Budget Battle At Houston City Hall
August 30, 2009

Is the city of  Houston facing a  $20 Million or $103 Million shortfall?

How could the numbers be so far apart?

That’s what many Houston city hall insiders and taxpayers are asking after city controller Annise Parker  sent  her most recent monthly financial report to Mayor Bill White and city council members,.

It projects a $103 Million shortfall in the general fund.

2 on the Beat was given a copy of the interoffice correspondence, and you can read it here: www.houstontx.gov/budget/mfr/fy10/july/i.pdf

Parker’s letter says the shortfall is a result, in part,  of the city collecting substantially less than expected revenue from both property taxes and sales taxes. 

But late Sunday evening, Mayor Whites’ spokesman Frank Michel strongly disputed the numbers released by the controller.

Michel told KPRC Local 2 that the revenue projections are off  by $20 Million, not $103 Million.  Michel said Parkers numbers are incorrect.  

He stressed that the Mayor is not considering any drastic cutbacks  in city services, nor is Mayor White on the verge of ordering furloughs for city employees.

We will hear more about the budget battle this week.  Parker is expected to brief  the mayor and council members during Wednesday’s meeting.

Both Parker and White are running for higher office, Parker for Mayor and White for the U.S. Senate.

Neither wants to look as though he or she dropped the ball on the city’s finances.

The Race for Mayor of Houston: Locke In – Hall Out
February 9, 2009

In an unusual development Monday morning,  Houston  attorneys  Gene Locke and Ben Hall , both rumored to be candidates for Mayor, appeared  at a joint news conference to announce that one would run for the top job at city hall and the other would stay on the sidelines.

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Who else showed up?   Congressman Al Green who says he “facilitated” a series of meetings  between the two men that ended with Hall deciding to withdraw from the race and endorse Locke for Mayor. 

The three men say they held a series of meetings over the past few weeks. The most recent took place on Sunday at at undisclosed location.

Locke and Hall say they discovered that they shared a similar vision for the city.  They believe  it would not be in the best interest of the city if they fought for the same constituency.

2 on the Beat will have more details on this story coming up on KPRC Local 2, including reaction from mayoral candidates Annise Parker and Peter Brown.

Another Candidate For Mayor?
January 31, 2009

Stay tuned Monday when City of Houston Comptroller Annise Parker reveals her big  political  secret!

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Her campaign aides have scheduled  time for reporters to interview Parker to hear details about what they are calling “a major political announcement.”

Let’s see….the former city council member is  rumored to be considering a run for Mayor of Houston. 

Could she have a surprise up her sleeve?